Graduation Candidates' Instructions


The Graduate School publishes the official list of deadlines for students preparing to graduate. These deadlines are rather unforgiving, and there may be late fees assessed for missing them. Find the whole list on the Graduate Deadlines Calendar web page. 

It is very important to follow this process to complete your thesis or directed project:

1. Declare your graduation candidacy (required for all students)

You must declare your candidacy for graduation during the semester in which you plan to graduate, but before the deadline as published in the above calendar. A Form 23 Registration Form is used to declare graduation candidacy. Online self-registration is not permitted to declare candidacy. Take the completed Form 23 to Stacy Lane in KNOY Hall, Room 255  for processing prior to the posted deadline. NOTE: In order to be eligible to graduate an approved Plan of Study must be on file with the Graduate School before the first day of classes of your final semester (see Graduation Deadlines Calendar for deadline).

It must be noted that if you declare your candidacy for a semester, but do not graduate (for whatever reason), you must re-declare your candidacy in a subsequent semester. Furthermore, if you declare your candidacy for a third time, you will be assessed a fee of $200 for the third and every subsequent time you declare. In other words, you need to be pretty sure your are going to finish the second time you declare graduation candidacy.

2. If you want to continue to the Ph.D. TECH/CIT program ...

An M.S. student desiring to continue into the Purdue Polytechnic Institute Doctor of Philosophy (with a CIT specialization) should see the policy governing continuation. If interested, students should begin this process at the beginning of the semester in which they declare candidacy. 

3. Schedule your university thesis deposit meeting (required for thesis students only)

The thesis deposit meeting actually occurs after your final defense. However, it is important to schedule this meeting well in advance because available time slots get consumed by Purdue's many graduating students each semester. If you wait too long, your entire timeline for graduation gets compressed into a shorter period of time. Your thesis deposit meeting determines whether or not your thesis will be accepted for final deposit. Deposit is required for graduation.

Note that there is a deadline published for every semester in the aforementioned Graduate Deadlines Calendar to complete this task. Most students schedule this meeting early in the semester. Use this link to schedule your UNIVERSITY thesis deposit meeting.

4. Formally schedule your defense (required for all students)

The student should coordinate with his or her committee to determine an acceptable date and time for the final defense of the thesis or directed project.  (Note: the defense is also called the final examination.) Once a common date and time has been determined, the student must see Stacy Lane in KNOY 255 to formally schedule that date and time.  She will assist with the required paperwork. Formal scheduling must occur within the deadlines established by the Graduate School.  The defense must be scheduled no less than 2 weeks prior to the actual defense.  Failure to do so will delay graduation until the following semester.

5. Work on your thesis or directed project.

It is recommended that you meet with your major professor to define a schedule of deliverables (including thesis/report drafts) and other expectations.

6. Meeting with your CIT Thesis/Directed Project FORMAT Advisor before your defense (required for all students)

Students are required to meet with the CIT Thesis and Directed Project Format Advisor, Professor Jeff Whittenat least two days before they defend their Thesis or Dissertation. This thesis formatting appointment is now mandatory.  If you do not meet with the CIT Thesis Format Advisor and get the approval signature on the Form 9 you will not graduate this semester. Normally, the Program Coordinator, Stacy Lane, will schedule this meeting at the same time that you schedule your defense.

Email a copy of your thesis or directed project report to Professor Whitten at least one day prior to the meeting.  Also bring a printed copy to the meeting.

7. Defend your thesis or directed project (required for all students)

You scheduled this meeting in Step 4. On that scheduled date, you will meet with your committee to defend your thesis or directed project. All committee members must be in attendance, physically or by teleconference; otherwise, the defense must be canceled -- noting that it probably cannot be rescheduled for this semester. The defense is also called the final examination. Be forewarned that all faculty and graduate students are invited to attend your defense; therefore, bring extra copies of your handouts. Also, bring your Form 9 and Form 32 to your defense so that, if you pass, your committee can sign the forms.

Be certain to ask your committee how much lead-time they require for receipt of your thesis prior to your defense.

The defense is usually conducted as follows:

  • You and all guests will be initially excused so that the committee can have a brief introductory conversation.
  • You and the guests will be invited back into the room.
  • You will defend your thesis or directed project.
  • You will will answer questions from your committee.
  • You will answer questions from guests.
  • Guests will be excused permanently.
  • You will be excused while your committee discusses your defense and thesis/directed project report.
  • You will be invited to return to the room.
  • Your committee will discuss the results of your examination.
  • You will be informed of any corrections that need to be made to your thesis or direct project final report.

8. Make required changes to your thesis or directed project final report (required for all students)

In most cases, your committee will have given you changes to make to your final report (during Step 5, above). Additionally, your thesis or directed project format advisor may have given you format changes to make to your thesis or direct project final report. It is now time to make all of these changes.

9. Complete the following exit surveys (required for all students)

Graduate School Exit Survey - Master's and Doctoral Candidates - Mandatory
Online Computer and Information Technology Exit Survey - Mandatory
Print out the proof of completion for each survey.

10. Attend your university thesis deposit meeting with the Graduate School (required for thesis students only)

You scheduled this meeting back in Step #3. Don't miss the meeting! Bring your thesis (with Forms 9 and 32 with ALL required signatures) to the meeting. During this meeting, the Thesis Office staff will determine if your thesis is complete and properly formatted. If yes, you will be instructed to deposit your thesis with the Graduate School. If not, you may not graduate this semester.

Bring your proof of completion of the Graduate School survey (Step #5) to this meeting.

11. Deposit your final thesis or directed project report into the College database (required for all students)

Submitting a printed copy of the Directed Project Report or MS Thesis will no longer be sufficient.  We are now requiring a digital copy for the Purdue Polytechnic be submitted electronically to the Purdue e-Pubs site.  Directed project and MS Thesis students will still electronically deposit their thesis with the Graduate School as required, but will now also submit a digital copy for the college to the Purdue e-Pubs site.

Also see How to Submit through Purdue e-Pubs

12. Deposit your thesis with the Graduate School (thesis students only)

Here is the link to deposit your thesis. Follow instructions as given in the meeting from Step #9.

Reminder of Publication Requirement (thesis students only)

In addition to the thesis, graduate students in the M.S.thesis option are expected to successfully publish a paper, abstract, poster, book chapter, or similar academic article in an academic-level proceedings, poster session, journal, periodical or similar venue or volume. The publication may be co-authored with other students and/or professors. Exceptions may be granted only through the CIT Graduate Program Chair or the CIT Graduate Education Committee.

Consequences of NOT Meeting All of the Above Graduation Requirements

If you fail your defense, or it gets canceled, or you miss your thesis deposit meeting, or fail to deposit your thesis or directed project report, one of the following two results will happen:

  • If you missed or failed your defense, or your defense had to be canceled, you must register for Exam Only for the next semester. Normal tuition fees apply. You must re-declare your graduation candidacy for the next semester and pay a penalty IF it is the third time (or more) that you have declared candidacy. Then you must complete all of the above steps the next semester.  Be aware that the timetable for completing Exam Only is very compressed as compared to normal.
  • If you simply did not get your thesis or directed project deposited on time, or you recorded a grade of Incomplete in a Plan of Study course, or you failed to complete the exit surveys, you will have to register for Degree Only for the next semester. There is a registration fee for Degree Only. Furthermore, you must re-declare candidacy for the next semester and pay a penalty if it is the third time (or more) that you have declared candidacy. Then you must complete any requirements you missed on a very compressed timetable.